What to Bring to a Writer’s Conference

I’ve attended a few writers’ conferences over the years, and recently just got back from the first in-person one I’ve attended in over three years. It was great to be surrounded by so many writers! If you’ve never been to a writers’ conference, I encourage you to find one near you and attend. So what can you expect from a day or a weekend with other writers? Here are some quick tips that can help make your experience comfortable and fun.

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Grace, the Blue-Haired Writer Girl: A Quick Introduction

I’ve written the occasional “here’s a little info about me” blog posts over the years, for people who want to know more about my quirks or my favorite books. But it’s been a while since I’ve written a post about myself, and I have a number of new followers on this blog and social media. So it’s time for a re-introduction.

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What Happens When You’re Tired of Social Media

I haven’t blogged in several months because, to be perfectly honest, I got tired of it. I did not stop writing, reading, editing, and researching. But I did stop blogging. I also let my social media lag a bit, until recently.

I was just plain tired of it all. And at this point in history, who isn’t? The past couple of years have been crazy—and social media has made it all both better and worse. Better, because it’s allowed us to communicate with each other, and to realize that despite everything, we’re not alone in our struggles. And worse, because, well…just scroll through Facebook for ten minutes and I’m sure you’ll find at least two videos that lower your IQ, and at least three posts/articles/memes that make you mad.

Anyway, so what should you do when you’re just tired of it all and want to delete all social apps from your phone? Here’s my take:

Take a social media break. 

If you’re exhausted and fed up by social media, then by all means take a break. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of the drama and bad news, or frustrated by your lack of reach or other results, then it might be time to take a step back for a bit.

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Strong Women of Fantasy: Glinda and Ozma of Oz

I’ve written several posts about strong women characters in sci-fi and fantasy. My goal is to highlight some well-written female characters who are strong leaders, every bit equal to men, and yet still feminine. In this post, I’ll cover two female lead characters from the “Oz” books.

Let me begin by repeating that a strong female character is not a male character in a woman’s body. Women are inherently different in more than just biology, and those differences are important to portray well in fiction if a strong female character is to be believable. Yes, women can be warriors, leaders, and protectors (traditionally male attributes), just as men can be gentle, calming, and nurturing. But in a story, a strong female character needs to be so much more than just a gender-swapped man.

Many fantasy and sci-fi stories have an overwhelmingly male cast. All too often, the “token female” is just that—serving either as romance/sexual tension, and/or to simply say “this story is all about equality because look a woman.”

There’s no romance in the original Oz books by L. Frank Baum, primarily because they were written for young children. Even with some of the reimaginings of the Oz stories featuring romance to different degrees, most of the best Oz retellings stay fairly true to the strength of the female characters in the original tales.

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Four Questions for the New Year

The dawn of a new year always has me thinking about goals and dreams and purpose. And that brings to mind four questions that I use to help guide me in thinking about my life for the next year: 

Who are you? 

What do you want? 

Why are you here? 

Where are you going? 

These four questions are from the classic science-fiction TV show Babylon 5. These questions, and the characters’ answers to them, are a strong thematic element throughout the series. And like any good piece of fiction, this sci-fi story can point to real life in a very impactful way.

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Happy New Year! Here We Go Again?

Yes, it’s a new year again. A new year full of hope and chances to start over. A new year full of goals, dreams, and plans. A new year to wonder how different life might become from what we imagined it would.

The past two years have sure thrown us all for a loop. Even those who haven’t lost jobs or loved ones have had their lives changed. Many would agree that this past year, and the year before that, weren’t the best years they’ve ever had.

And 2021, also, actually

But despite two years of changes that nobody wanted, I still choose to look on the new year with hope and positive expectation. And while this past year may not have been the greatest on record, I’m so grateful that I had some pretty amazing things happen.

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